Winter has officially arrived with a snowfall last Thursday night. Winter will continue for at least the next few months. It is important to prepare for winter weather before traveling. Staying safe on the road in the coming months is extremely important not only for your safety, but for your loved ones and everyone else on the road.
Preparation is key, according to the Kentucky Department of Transportation. Here are some pointers they suggest for this winter season.
be seen. Dull, overcast days, common in winter driving, impair visibility. It is best to drive with low beam headlights.
Prepare your vehicle. This means removing snow, ice, mud or dirt from your windows, roof, taillights and headlights before you leave for your destination. Make sure your gas tank is full and your windshield washer fluid contains antifreeze. Make sure the tires are properly inflated.
Keep at least half gas. Bring a cell phone charger, a flashlight with a working battery, jumper cables, snacks, water bottles, and other non-perishable items.
Prepare the passengers in the car, keep the children in mind. Extra wipes, diapers, formula, snacks, water and blankets are essential in case of a roadside breakdown.
Watch out for black ice. Black Ice gets its name from its ability to blend in with its surroundings. Ice is more likely to form here than on other areas of the road, so be careful when exiting bridges, overpasses and ramps. When driving at night, be aware of areas of the road where headlights reflect. This could be a sign of freezing. If you slip on black ice, keep calm and let the car pass.
Fasten your seat belt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a seat belt and properly placing a child in a suitable child restraint or booster seat can cut the risk of serious injury or death in a car crash in half. The same is true for pickup trucks, SUVs, and van occupants. Using seat belts in these vehicles can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60% and moderate to severe injury by 65%.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that on average about 6,000 people die each year and more than 445,000 are injured in weather-related crashes.
Kentucky has an estimated 700 of these traffic-related deaths. In addition to fatalities, thousands of people are injured on Kentucky roads each year. Bad weather, such as slippery roads, can contribute to accidents, but these types of collisions are often caused by someone driving in unsafe conditions.
For more information, tips and suggestions, visit the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on Facebook or visit transportation.ky.gov.